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-Archaeology: First Century Synagogue Ruins Confirm New Testament Accounts

by Dr. D ~ August 23rd, 2016

In_the_Synagogue005

The discovery of a rural synagogue in Galilee dating from the 1st century lends support for the New Testament accounts of Jesus teaching in synagogues. For years scholars have doubted those accounts since it was hard to believe that a Jewish rabbi would allow an itinerate teacher like Jesus to come in an take over a regular worship service.  But the discovery demonstrates that the local rural synagogues were used for community meetings and for Torah readings and study.  Here’s the story from the Christian Post:

Motti Aviam, a senior researcher at the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology at the Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee, explained in a statement the significance of the Tel Rechesh excavation find.

     "This is the first synagogue discovered in the rural part of the Galilee and it confirms historical information we have about the New Testament, which says that Jesus preached at synagogues in Galilean villages,"

explained Aviam, as reported by JNS.

Haaretz noted that while there have been seven other synagogues from the Second Temple period discovered before, the one at Tel Rechesh is the first to be found in a rural instead of urban setting.

     "Inscriptions and historical sources show that the synagogues of the period were used for meetings, Torah readings and study, rather than worship. They had neither Torah ark nor regular prayer services,"

reported Haaretz.

<Read the whole article>

Response: Notice that it is Jewish scholars that are confirming the NT record. An important distinction.                *Top

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-Independence Day 2016: Freedom Comes from God

by Dr. D ~ July 4th, 2016

United_States_Declaration_of_Independence

Happy Independence Day 2016.

The following is our traditional message for the 4th of July:

 

Flags are flying, parades are moving, drinks are flowing, and politicians are speaking today in America.

240 years ago a message was confirmed by representatives of 13 colonies proclaiming their freedom, a freedom that was considered to be derived from God:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Much has been made of the variety of beliefs held by the founders of this country but their words and convictions remain not only on paper but also in the hearts of the people.

Declaration of Independence: The Emphasis Upon God

When it comes to the Declaration of Independence, the words- “by their Creator” were a major part of the message, the subject, and the emphasis.

Many secularists and atheists today want to de-emphasize the role of faith in the founding of this country to the point that many are attempting to actually rewrite history itself. For them, God could have easily been left out of the document with little or no effect.

But in the context of 1776, those words were the whole linchpin of the document and appealed to as the ultimate authority and source for the rights of the Americans to rebel against the King of England.

In the context of the 18th century the Europeans believed that their Kings reigned and ruled ‘by Divine right’ under the authority of God and were His direct representatives. In fact, the King of England was also the head of the church and was supposed to defend the Christian faith against heresy and all enemies. In that cultural context, to rebel against the King was tantamount to rebelling against God the Creator himself.

In the Declaration the founders made it clear that they were not rebelling against God but that the Creator was actually the ultimate authority they were appealing to saying that their ‘rights’ were derived directly from the Creator and not given to them by the King of England or some parchment or Parliament.

It was a radical document at the time and changed the whole course of human history and ‘the Creator’ was part and parcel of the Declaration of Independence and the ultimate authority appealed to in the whole process.            *Top

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-Reacting to Those Who Are Blaming Christians for Orlando?

by Dr. D ~ June 24th, 2016

Eric Metaxas

   (Eric Metaxas: Image source)

Here’s a good article by Eric Metaxas: “Blaming Christians for Orlando?

In it he references an editorial by the New York Times, The Daily Beast, and reactions by CNN’s Anderson Cooper all piling on and somehow assigning blame to Christians for the actions of the radical Muslim terrorist in killing 49 folks in Orlando. We also cited several others who blamed Christians in an article on our main blog last week.

The best part of his editorial is at the end when he talks about how Christians should react to this bewildering attack on the Christian community:

So when the Anderson Coopers of the world insist loving people means approving of everything they do, we must reply that love often means exactly the opposite.

No, we’re not responsible for what happened in Orlando. But it’s our love and proclamation of God’s grace, not our angry self-defense, that will prove it.

Amen!

*Top

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-The Bible and The Quran: Some Major Contrasts

by Dr. D ~ April 2nd, 2016

bible-998150__180quran-1036782__180

There are some obvious differences between the Bible and the Quran. Some of those major contrasts revolve around the teaching contained in the two and others around references to characters and history.

One glaring difference is that the Quran is one book written by one man in one lifetime while the Bible spans thousands of years and is actually comprised of 66 separate books written by as many as 40 different authors.

Here’s a very good recent article I ran across that lists 6 major differences and contrasts between the two sacred books representing the two largest world religions:

Six Startling Contrasts Between the Bible and the Quran” by Jeff Sanders, PJ Media

Content Headings:

1. Conversion Stories

2. God’s Compassion

3. God’s Grace

4. Descriptions of Heaven

5. Views of Women

6. Teaching of History

<Read what is under all six and the whole article>

Response: We have written about the differences between Christianity and Islam when it comes to the teaching of God’s grace and compassion before. The different views about the status of women is common knowledge and displayed daily in the cultural treatment of women in major Muslim dominated countries today. Heaven or Paradise according to Muhammad and the Quran seems to be oriented towards satisfying male physical desires more than anything else.

The real eye opener in the article is in the section on history. Major historical errors and anachronisms along with outright ignorance are openly on display in the Quran. Here’s a few of the more shocking mistakes listed in the article:

Moses is called an "apostle" in Surah 43:47. "Apostle" is a Greek word, popularized long after the time of Moses (c. 1446 B.C. …

Several times Muhammad says that Haman was a co-conspirator with Pharaoh to thwart Moses (Surah 40:25; 28:6,8,38; 29:39). … In the Bible Haman was a minor ruler under the Persian King Xerxes (Ahasuerus) in the fifth century before Christ. That would be 1000 years after the time of Moses! …

In Surah 19:27, Muhammad got Mary the mother of Jesus and Miriam the sister of Moses and Aaron confused. Here he calls the mother of Jesus "the sister of Aaron." The problem is that the two ladies are actually separated by over 1000 years of history.

And the prophet of Islam also states that Pharaoh threatened to "crucify" Moses (Surah 7:123). Joseph warns his fellow prisoners that Pharaoh will "crucify" them (12:41). Again, these are anachronisms. Crucifixion never existed in Egypt in the time of Joseph or Moses. It was created by the Romans around 200 B.C.

The entire article is excellent and well worth reading if you really want to know some of the major contrasts between the Bible and the Quran along with some of the differences between Christianity and Islam.                 *Top

 

For more on the differences between Christianity and Islam see our previous articles:

"-Islam and Christianity: Some Major Differences"

"-Comparing Islam and Christianity #7: The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus"

"-Dueling Jesuses: Isa of Islam Vs. The Son of God of Christianity"

"Comparing Islam and Christianity #6 -The Divinity of Jesus"

"Comparing Islam and Christianity #5 -Miracles and Spiritual Gifts"

"Comparing Islam and Christianity #4 -The Holy Spirit"

"Comparing: Islam and Christianity #3 -The Virgin Birth of Jesus"

"Comparing: Islam and Christianity #2 -The Righteousness and Justice of God"

"Comparing: Islam and Christianity #1 -God’s Love?"

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-“It’s Friday But Sunday’s Coming”

by Dr. D ~ March 25th, 2016

Here’s my favorite message of all time for Good Friday: “It’s Friday but Sunday’s Coming” by Dr. Tony Campolo. It has become a tradition on this blog to post it every year on this day.

Here’s a link to where the famous tape can be downloaded.

image

The whole tape is great but the best part is toward the end when Tony Campolo recalls one Sunday when he had a little preaching competition with the head pastor at the church where he was attending.

Dr. Campolo tells how he preached the perfect sermon in every way and had taken the congregation to ‘the heights of glory’. As he sat down beside his pastor, Dr. Tony patted him on the knee and simply said, “Top that.” The older black pastor looked at him and said, “Boy, watch the master.” Then Dr. Campolo recalls for us the very brilliant message which followed.

The following is just a taste of what the climax is like in the 45 minute tape/sermon.  it doesn’t really do justice to the original but this printed abbreviated version is inspirational none the less:

It’s Friday But Sunday’s Coming—

It was a simple sermon, starting softly, building in volume and intensity until the entire congregation was completely involved, repeating the phrases in unison. The sermon went something like this:

It’s Friday. Jesus is arrested in the garden where He was praying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The disciples are hiding and Peter’s denying that he knows the Lord. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is standing before the high priest of Israel, silent as a lamb before the slaughter. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is beaten, mocked, and spit upon. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Those Roman soldiers are flogging our Lord with a leather scourge that has bits of bones and glass and metal, tearing at his flesh. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The Son of man stands firm as they press the crown of thorns down into his brow. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. See Him walking to Calvary, the blood dripping from His body. See the cross crashing down on His back as He stumbles beneath the load. It’s Friday; but Sunday’s a coming.

It’s Friday. See those Roman soldiers driving the nails into the feet and hands of my Lord. Hear my Jesus cry, “Father, forgive them.” It’s Friday; but Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, bloody and dying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The sky grows dark, the earth begins to tremble, and He who knew no sin became sin for us. Holy God who will not abide with sin pours out His wrath on that perfect sacrificial lamb who cries out, “My God, My God. Why hast thou forsaken me?” What a horrible cry. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. And at the moment of Jesus’ death, the veil of the Temple that separates sinful man from Holy God was torn from the top to the bottom because Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, heaven is weeping and hell is partying. But that’s because it’s Friday, and they don’t know it, but Sunday’s a coming.

And on that horrible day 2000 years ago, Jesus the Christ, the Lord of glory, the only begotten Son of God, the only perfect man died on the cross of Calvary. Satan thought that he had won the victory. Surely he had destroyed the Son of God. Finally he had disproved the prophecy God had uttered in the Garden and the one who was to crush his head had been destroyed. But that was Friday.

Now it’s Sunday. And just about dawn on that first day of the week, there was a great earthquake. But that wasn’t the only thing that was shaking because now it’s Sunday. And the angel of the Lord is coming down out of heaven and rolling the stone away from the door of the tomb. Yes, it’s Sunday, and the angel of the Lord is sitting on that stone and the guards posted at the tomb to keep the body from disappearing were shaking in their boots because it’s Sunday, and the lamb that was silent before the slaughter is now the resurrected lion from the tribe of Judah, for He is not here, the angel says. He is risen indeed.

It’s Sunday, and the crucified and resurrected Christ has defeated death, hell, sin and the grave. It’s Sunday. And now everything has changed. It’s the age of grace, God’s grace poured out on all who would look to that crucified lamb of Calvary. Grace freely given to all who would believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary was buried and rose again. All because it’s Sunday.

At the end of the message the pastor shouts out:

It’s Friiidaaaay!

And the whole congregation responds:

But Sunday’s Coming!

*Top

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